Merano SudTirol, Italy August 2017
The trauma of the canopy is over for now and we can move on. We decide we still want to explore Merano.
Merano became increasingly popular as a spa resort, especially after Empress Elisabeth of Austria started visiting. Dating from the 19th century are the civic theatre, the Kurhaus and the Empress Elisabeth Park. Also famous are the arched Wandelhalle promenades along the river.
We parked at our favourite spot the cemetery. The cemetery is always a good spot to choose as it normally is quiet and empty and within walking distance to the town. It was really hot as we walked into town. Our first impression was wow. Again the beauty and character of Italy with the neatness and efficiency of Austria. We walked past the public pool and this one was magnificent. See my pics. Restaurants , bars and lots of different options. This was a fantastic way to spend the day. Pity it was not for us today but if we ever came back I would park the van and spend the day here. We walked over the bridge and into the centre of the old town. I felt it was a little like Bologna with collanaded sidewalks that made for lovely cool street shopping. The shops were a lovely mix of the high street brands and independents and lots of cafes. We visited the church with its iconic tower and we just enjoyed ourselves exploring little alleyways. I managed a little retail therapy. Chris is always keen when the shop assistants are cute.
Chris: It always seems to cost me!
They also had a shop selling only Christmas decorations. Hundreds of crystal balls hanging from trees in every color and size you can imagine. I took a few pics but they don’t do justice to the delicate objects hanging everywhere.
Then in pursuit of the perfect place to have a drink and a cake. (Of course). Eventually we went back to the first place and sat down. We ordered 2 cakes and a drink and whilst I nipped to the loo Chris paid the bill. When I got back he was stony faced. ” don’t smile at the waiter” he says! Ok I won’t. What happened? Bloody rip off he says they charged €16.
We marched out feeling ripped off and it back on the road for us.
San Leonardo in Passiria, Italy August 2017
Moving on…. The area is well known for its wines, both white and red, and vineyards extend right into the town. The local wine, (Meranese di collina), is a light red wine, best drunk young. There are also extensive orchards, and apples are exported throughout Europe. So driving thru these beautiful orchards and vineyard heading to a town just below the pass called the Jaufen Pass , the town is called San Leonardo in Passiria.
The camp site Camp Zogghof was next to the public pool ( yes every town has one) and parked in a very sunny spot on the 2 level of the terraced camp site. As we don’t have a working canopy its quite hot, ok lets say it’s very very hot. We try to sit in the shade of the van but we are melting. So off to the pool. You get free access to the pool if you use the camp site. After the requisite shower before swimming and finding a rare spot of grass to plonk our towels down we plunged into the water. Glorious feeling. The pool had a small water slide which we used about 5 x before noticing it was mostly moms with kids or just kids. We are kids right! It also had a jacuzzi pool and a whirlpool all great fun. We spent a most enjoyable afternoon there, ending off with of course an aperol spritz and radler at the pool bar.
That evening we had decided to go for dinner. We walked into the town which was pretty and quaint. But the restaurants were all either heavy sounding Austrian food or pizza, none of which we ever feel like. So Parsleyspursuits of the perfect restaurant meant at least 3 times around the village centre and then deciding to try the restaurant next to the camp site after all! Back up the hills and we get there and the waitress says sorry kitchen is now closed, we are only serving drinks and pizza! Aaaaaah! Ok we weren’t that hungry. A drink and a garlic focaccia to share( pretty awful) but when you in love these things don’t matter.
Chris: That’s so sweet!
In the morning we packed up and drove up the Jaufen pass. This is northernmost pass in the Alps still in Italy. Up and up and up we went. This pass is not open in Winter and I can totally understand why. Chris had to keep his wits about him. The view from my side was magnificent with valleys, mountains and houses clinging to the steep slopes. How do these people manage in Winter. Funny thing was we had been driving for a couple of km’s already and then we came to the actual start of the pass! What! up and up we went, sometimes with barely enough room for Pozzi never mind anyone else!
Right at the top we stopped for a few other people to take pics and admire the scenery. Then down down down we go. The way down is less exciting but we did spot a fair amount of ski lifts and stations.
We made our way to the Brenner Pass and crossed the border. No stories to tell and in fact probably a little boring. Just tons of huge trucks all making there way over the pass. We stopped at the auto grill ( like an Engen one stop) but on steroids. Lovely fresh baguette with yummy coffee and chocolates. They know how to feed travelers, no dodgy pies in site.
Italy, Austria and into Germany
We travelled on past Innsbruck and then into Germany, not bad 3 countries in one day.
And now we made our way to the last stop before Munich…a small town called Oberammergau. Why this town you ask?
Tell you next time.